It’s November 22; a fierce southeast gale is blowing so I thought I’d update our bird sightings before the power goes out. Maybe the Short-eared Owl floating over the Masset Golf Course yesterday, November 21, will have been blown away. It’s been an amazing few weeks and scanning the junco flocks is paying off big-time. It started with a rare American Tree Sparrow feeding with a flock of Juncos near Masset in early November. On November 14, in Sandspit, Peter found a Brambling ground-feeding with them and in the nearby trees very late wood-warblers fed busily. Townsend’s Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and three Yellow-rumped, both Myrtle and Audubons. Twelve Snowy Owls sat on the margins of the beach.
On November 15, again with juncos in Masset, a Northern Shrike scooted through the low bush. It was an immature bird, the first we’ve seen for at least two years. Two Snowy Owls perched on an old boat in Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary and many ducks have returned to dabble along the edges. The Gadwall are back and a Eurasian Wigeon feeds with a flock of American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal.
On November 16, taking advantage of a lovely sunny day, we went south again and, again with a large junco flock, found 4 Townsend’s Warblers, 4 Orange-crowned Warblers, 3 Myrtle and 1 Audubon’s, 4 White-crowned Sparrows, 1 Golden-crowned Sparrow, 2 Fox Sparrows and 3 Song Sparrows. I mention all the birds, because it’s so exceptional here to find so many species so close to one another feeding like crazy in the sun. It was like a little bit of paradise. There were 7 Snowy Owls, some we know have died as we have seen the carcasses, but others may have gone south.
On November 19, we went back to Sandspit as Peter was flying to Toronto for a family visit. Before he left Masset he caught a glimpse of the White-throated Sparrow Margo had seen the evening before at our feeder. We have since heard of another one in Port Clements on November 20. The feeding flock showed up in Sandspit again when the sun came out for an hour or so, and again, the Townsend’s, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumps and White-crowned Sparrows were active. We re-found the Brambling that Peter had seen earlier in the week, Margo’s first sighting for the year. Around the corner a small flock of American Robins flitted around and close by a Purple Finch, subtle and elusive, fed on snowberries. Our first for a few years here. I’ll try and publish a few few photos when the wind goes down.